Kahane Connection Sought in WTC Bombing
Mar. 13, 1993
NEW YORK (AP) _ Police have reopened their investigation into the 1990 slaying of radical Rabbi Meir Kahane, looking for possible connections between the suspect in that case and the bombing of the World Trade Center.
Also Friday, a Palestinian-American chemical engineer arrested in the bombing was denied bail, and German authorities agreed to help trace a money transfer that may have financed the attack.
Detectives are looking for additional links between El Sayyid Nosair - acquitted of shooting Kahane but imprisoned on related weapons charges - and the suspects arrested so far in last month's bombing.
Authorities are also searching for a 33-year-old, Egyptian-born acquaintance of Mohammed Salameh as yet another suspect in the bombing, New York News reported today, quoting senior law-enforcement sources it didn't identify.
A police spokesman, Sgt. John McCluskey, confirmed late Friday the investigation into the Kahane slaying had been reopened, but declined to comment further.
The New York Times reported today Nosair was notified he will be charged in a disciplinary hearing with plotting an escape from Attica State Prison.
State Department of Corrections spokesman James Flateau said Nosair was being disciplined because fake Nicaraguan passports and birth certificates were found in his and his family's names in the apartment of Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny, who has been charged with obstruction of justice in the bombing investigation.
Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli told the Times that investigators were re-examining the original theory that Nosair acted alone when he allegedly shot Kahane on Nov. 5, 1990, at a Manhattan hotel.
Salameh, 25, charged with aiding and abetting in the bombing, often demonstrated for Nosair during his 1991 trial and has reportedly visited Nosair in Attica.
Meanwhile, U.S. Magistrate Dennis Cavanaugh denied bail Friday for another bombing suspect, 25-year-old Nidal Ayyad. At a court hearing in Newark, N.J., Cavanaugh said releasing Ayyad on bail would pose a danger because Ayyad could communicate with others who may have been involved, but not yet arrested.
And in Germany, investigators planned to ask the Westdeutsche Genossenschafts Zentralbank in Duesseldorf about a transfer made to a New Jersey bank account held jointly by Salameh and Ayyad.
Henning Rautenberg, a spokesman for the German bank, said $2,420.87 was transferred from his institution to the New Jersey account.
Rautenberg said his bank wired the money at the request of one of 500 member banks that belong to a cooperative banking system. Citing bank secrecy laws, he declined to identify the member bank or say who provided the money.
The Record of Hackensack, N.J., which first reported the transfer, said the New Jersey account was opened Jan. 21 at the National Westminster Bank of Jersey City, N.J., with an initial deposit of $414.98.
The total amount transferred remained unclear. A federal investigator told The Associated Press there probably were ''several deposits under $10,000.''
Such deposits would avoid federal laws requiring reports of cash transactions of $10,000 or more.
A federal official, who spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity, said it appeared the money was used ''for the bombing, possible escape, safe houses and other terrorist activities.
''Our main thrust is where the money came from,'' he said. ''We don't know the ultimate source.''
Finding the source might help investigators determine a motive in the Feb. 26 bombing that killed five people and injured more than 1,000. It was caused by a mixture of highly explosive chemicals that was brought to the basement of the trade center in a van.
In other developments Friday:
-Dogs searched, without success, for a missing worker in the trade center's rubble-strewn basement.
-Federal agents also searched the wreckage looking for clues. A Port Authority police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that several pieces of the van had been recovered, and that agents were reconstructing the vehicle.
-Cleaning crews began their work, covering more than a dozen floors in the 110-story towers. The buildings are not expected to reopen until April.